Ghulam Nabi Azad joins the Anantnag-Rajouri competition, setting up a prestige fight

The Anantnag-Rajouri seat in Jammu and Kashmir is set for a high-stakes electoral battle, with seasoned politicians vying against each other.

Former Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad will be contesting the Lok Sabha polls from the Anantnag-Rajouri seat on behalf of the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP), according to an announcement made by the party's Chief Spokesperson, Salman Nizami. This decision has catapulted the constituency into the limelight as a battleground for a prestigious contest.

Azad, representing DPAP, will be facing off against the National Conference's veteran leader Mian Altaf Ahmad, who is the candidate of the INDIA bloc.

Mian Altaf's candidacy has effectively put an end to the possibility of a pre-election alliance between the National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti's Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Despite months of negotiations between the Congress and the two parties, no electoral agreement was reached.

The move by Omar Abdullah's party has also dealt a blow to the prospects of the Peoples Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), a political coalition formed to advocate for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

Mehbooba Mufti remains steadfast in her determination to retain Anantnag, which has traditionally been a stronghold of the PDP. It is expected that her name will be announced as the candidate for the seat. In the 2019 elections, Mehbooba Mufti finished third in this constituency.

The battle for the Anantnag-Rajouri seat holds significance for both the PDP and the National Conference, as it represents a struggle for survival and prestige.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), eyeing a substantial political breakthrough in the constituency, has been actively campaigning in the area. Ravinder Raina, the party's state chief, is considered one of the leading contenders for the BJP's candidacy in the upcoming elections.

It's worth noting that Hasnain Masoodi of the National Conference currently holds the seat as the sitting MP from the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency.

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